tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN February 24, 2010 5:00pm-8:00pm EST
jo a killer whale has killed on two separate occasions prior to to this to caution and we're learning that because of that it wasn't used in performances. this is new. was not used in performances. this whale was kept in a pen on the side and it apparently overreacted when it saw that trainer and took the trainer's life. what a story. let's go now to washington. wolf blitzer is and thing by. he's in "the situation room." wick, we're going to have a lot more on that incident as well. also happening right now, the apology heard around the world. toyota's chief takes center stage and says he is deeply saddened by the deaths as a result of his cars but that did not stop lawmakers from grilling him and grilling him hard. one writes toyota is an american car company and wondered if the federal government might attack
toyota just to promote gm and chrysler, which the government bailed out. the mississippi governor, haley barbour, he's here in "the situation room" to explain. and did an employee for the company formerly known as blackwater take weapons intended for the afghan national police using a name from the animated show "southpark"? i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >> all the recalls, deaths and a public disaster over toyota, this was the man so many people have been waiting for, the president of toy toit ta explaining it all to lawmakers. but he was also talking to you. a congressional panel is investigating the recall of more than 8 million vehicles over issues of sudden acceleration and unresponsive brake pedals. akio toyoda began with an acknowledgment. >> in the past few months, our customers are started to feel
uncertain about the safety of toyota's vehicles, and i take full responsibility for that. >> then an explanation and apology over the deaths. >> we pursued the disputes and we should sincerely be mindful of that. i regret that this has resulted in the safety issue described in the recalls we face today. and i am deeply sorry for any accident that toyota drivers have experienced. especially i would like to extend my condolences to the members of the family for the accident in san diego. i would like to send my prayers again, and i will do everything in my power to ensure that such
a tragedy never happen again. >> and the grandson of toyota's founder essentially said he'll fight to ensure there's no lasting shame on the family name. >> my name is on every car. you have my personal commitment that toyota will work vigorously and unceasingly to restore the trust of our customers. >> let's go right to our congressional correspondent, brianna keilar. she's up on the hill watching all of these hearings unfold. brianna, have they wrapped up now for the day? >> reporter: no. they're still going, wolf. you know, one of the concerns that lawmakers have had here and that some engineering experts have backed up is that maybe the problems with toyota vehicles go beyond floor mats, go beyond gas pedals and have to do with the car's computers, electronics, what's called the electronic throttle control system, or the etc. here is what akio toyoda said
preliminary tests and he's confident that it's not an electronic problem. but even so, wolf, one of the fixes that toyota is talking about is a computer fix. it's a brake override, where if you were to press on the brake while the car is going really fast it would essentially halt the car and make it go much slower. so that's one of the fixes they're proposing. >> and something else, one of the internal documents said that the company was going to save, what, $100 million by avoiding a broad recall? i know that came up in the hearing today. it's caused a lot of concern out there. >> reporter: a lot of concern in the last couple of days. and what we heard akio toyoda say, this is a document that does not reflect the company overall. we also heard from yoshimi inaba. he is the head of toyota north america. and he sort of down played this document, saying it was prepared by some lower-level executives in the u.s. for him, that it's not something he prepared, both of the u.s. executives distancing themselves from that document. >> and seem to be distancing
themselves from even knowing about the problem at the highest levels of toyota in japan. >> reporter: this was one of the most fascinating things that struck me because when lawmakers questioned them what did you know, when did you know, we heard from them they didn't really know about widespread acceleration issues or reports of them until late december. in fact, you've heard the secretary of transportation, ray lahood, really tout this meeting that ntsa nhtsa went out to japan. mr. inaba and mr. toyoda said they weren't aware of even the content of that meeting, just sort of aware it was going on but they weren't aware of what happened in it, wolf. >> brianna keilar watching this up on the hill. we'll have a lot more on this story coming up. we'll speak with the transportation secretary, ray lahood, also haley barbour, the governor of mississippi, who's got nice things to say about toyota. we'll get back to brianna, as well. let's go to the white house
right now. they're getting ready for a health care summit that we ginns tomorrow. it'll be televised. is this an honest effort for democrats and republicans to find some common ground or simply a public relations or political stunt? our white house correspondent, dan lothian, is setting the stage. what can we expect? >> reporter: preparations under way for the big sum at the white house. white house aides saying the president will have some opening remarks and that will be followed by lawmakers on both sides also delivering some comments. then the focus will turn to four key points and you can see them on the wall. controlling costs, insurance reform, reducing the deficit and expanding coverage. the white house says that it's very optimist that i can this meeting will be productive but that their strategy leading up to the summit set the right tone? i went to a harvard expert on negotiations, professor bob bohrdone, to get that answer. >> the idea of throwing a
proposal out two days before a big summit, a proposal that essentially mirrors the proposal the democrats passed in the senate, makes it quite hard for the republicans to actually come to this with an open spirit. >> tomorrow i look forward to a good exchange of ideas at the blair house with some legislative leaders. >> if the president wantings to really work with the republicans or thinks that the republicans really want to work with him, it makes more sense to come in and asave let's identify the issue where is we disagree, and let's try to jointly draft something together instead of essentially throwing something out there then having the republicans try to sort of nibble away at that. >> if the president hadn't put anything on, there wouldn't you guess that we would hear, well, is the president not bringing any ideas to the summit? >> i think in some sense the president may be using this summit as a way to signal to the american people, a, i am being
reasonable and i am trying to work with the other side, b, what's in my proposal, what the democrats are trying to push forward, is critically important for the health of the american economy. >> i hope everyone comes with a shared desire to solve this challenge, not just score political points. >> the president is walking a tight rope. transparency matters, and certainly the republicans have used that to bludgeon him. on the other hand, from a negotiation perspective, it's hard to imagine very serious and deep-held progress happening in a fully transparent setting. >> reporter: now, the summit has been called the last hope for health care reform, but robert gibbs said that he hopes that's not the case, that it's just one avenue to reach a consensus. and just a few more details about that summit. we're told that it will last from 10:00 a.m. tomorrow until 4:00 p.m. everyone will be seated around
long tables that are arranged in a large square. there will be a lunch break and of course all of this will be live not only on c-span but right here on cnn. wolf? >> i'll be anchoring our coverage starting at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. we'll have coverage all day of this historic health care summit at blair house across the street from the white house. let's return now to the breaking news we've been following for the past hour or so. the tragedy at sea world in orlando, florida. the trainer was pronounced dead at the scene when paramedics arrived only minutes later. brian todd has been looking at the details. walk us through, brian, what exactly happened because there's a tragic death involved. >> absolutely, wolf. we know that this afternoon paramedics were called to the scene at sea world in orlando. what we're learning is that when they got there that this trainer was already deceased. they describe her as a woman, 40 years old, not giving her identity at the moment. just a short time ago there was a news conference in orlando. the spokesman for the orange county fire and rescue, jim
solomon, did give some basic detail about the incident. here's what he had to say. >> basically, at about 2:00 today, orange county sheriff's office and orange county fire and rescue responded to a report of an injury at the shamu stadium. units got on scene and realized that the victim in this case was deceased. what apparently happened is we had a female trainer back in the whale holding area. she apparently slipped or fell into the tank and was fatally injured by one of the whales. we're on scene along with forensics, our homicide investigators and we're conducting a death investigation. >> some of the details are going to be forth coming in the minutes ahead, but we did learn from dan browne, the president of orlando parks, just after that, that the victim apparently did drown. so not quite clear whether the whale might have inflicted some harm on the trainer or maybe dragged her into the water and thrashed around a little bit and she drowned. there was an eyewitness to this.
this apparently occurred in a rear holding area of sea world and an eyewitness described what she saw. >> we walked out. there was a lot of people there. there was a trainer standing by the window talking about the whale. people were asking questions, how much does he weigh, things like that. then the whale like floated upside down and the trainer said, oh, he's -- giving him a belly rub, he really likes that. i could tell it was talika because of the huge, huge fins. the trainer down stairs then called out to the trainer upstairs, okay, so-and-so, we're ready. and he just took off like a bat out of you know what, took off really fast and then he came back around to the glass, jumped up, and grabbed the trainer by the waist and started shaking her violently and her shoe was detective the larz thulgs last thing i saw was her shoe floating and sirens immediately started. and then everybody -- not the trainer but the other people
that kind of stand around the glass area started telling us that we needed to get out, get out. the sirens were going off. people were running out. i've never seen so many sea world employees come out of the woodwork, people in suits, people in dress clothes, and they just were yelling at us that we needed to get out. >> clearly from that account you can see this happened in front of an audience of people. we're told it was in a rear holding area but the trainer was explaining to people what they were about to see in the show when this incident occurred, wolf. we're getting preliminary reports from local stations and others that the whale involved, 11,000 pounds, 22 feet long, one of the biggest whales in captivity, and some of the initial research that cnn has done from our reports in the past, this whale has been involved in the drownings of at least two other people in years past. one of them was at least ten years ago. the other one we're told was 1991. again, probably in those incidents we think those were incidents of people falling in the water or somebody may have been joking around and just jumped in the water. but the whale was involved in other incidents of people
drowning in the past. 1999 and 1991 from the initial report weers getting right now. >> that's why they call them killer whales because if you jump in the water you're going to be -- this looks like it was a tragic accident. >> they're saying there's no foul play suspected. they're treating it like an accident. again, some object either slips in the water, falls in the water. whether this whale came out and grabbed this trainer, i think we're going to get some details in the hours ahead. >> brian, thanks very much. we'll stay on top of the story, get more information as it comes into "the situation room." will they play a game or will they blink first? president obama versus republicans at tomorrow's health care summit. which side do you think is being more uncooperative? wait until you see our new polling. it's really a sign of broken government.
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it's made up of private closed-door meetings of aides at all levels. i guess when you have the economy and health care reform and the deficits under control, you can spend your time worrying about the next election. even if it's almost three years away. the article's sources say the president has given every sign he plans to run again, wants the next campaign to look a lot like the last one. my guess is it won't turn out quite the same way. it's believed the re-election campaign would be managed by the white house deputy chief of staff, jim mussina, and possibly be run out of chicago, which is a good way to remove it from beltway politics and locate it
instead in that bastion of good government. the planning still in its early stages but some say it would likely launch in about a year. nonetheless, there's still a long way to go. president obama's approval rating hovering at around 50% and the majority of americans say he doesn't deserve to be re-elected. the american people were promised change, and a lot of them think this administration is just more of the same. and if the jobs don't start coming back soon, well, he might want to see if that community organizer job is still open. here's the question -- is it too early for president obama to be planning his re-election campaign? you can go to cnn.com/caffertyfile and post a comment on my blog. president obama's health care summit kicks off tomorrow morning, 10:00 a.m. joining us to talk about, our senior political analyst, david gergen and senior political correspondent, candy crowley. new poll numbers from cnn and the opinion research corporation poll. only 25% of people polled
support the current version of health care reform. 48% say congress should work out a new bill. 25% say they should stop working on the issue. these are not very encouraging numbers for the president and the democrats. >> well, they're certainly not. over 70% of the people in the country either want to drop this bill and start over or forget it all together for a while. so the president has his work cut out for him. but i do think it's a serious endeavor, wolf. i think it's a serious morning and early afternoon because the white house very much wants to make sure people understand what's at stake and get beyond all the stories about the sausage making up on capitol hill and to get to the substance. and they hope that this can revive momentum for health care and then they'll go ahead and get it passed. their preference is to move now with a reconciliation. but the republicans have -- been up talking on capitol hill today -- they very much think this gives them an opportunity to show the country, look, we're sensible people. we get the problems. but we want to do a little more
step by step basis. it's arrogant, as lamar alexander, would put it, for 100 senators to think they can control 70% of the economy. the american people can have a chance to judge. into isn't it likely with all the tv cameras and people watching, politicians instinctively will posture? >> i think they will be on their best behavior simply because that's exactly what people are expecting. i think we are not likely to see the sorts of things that we might be able to see where behind close hfd door meetings open, and that is that's when people butt heads. i think because this is all about who's being bipartisan, who's really going to come to a compromise, i think both sides don't want to be the ones that sound like they're transigent, that they're bullying the other side. i just think most people believe at this point, at least on capitol hill, that you're not going to get a lot of substance coming out of this meeting. you may get an airing, as david
says, and that may be valuable, but this is not the place to negotiate. i mean, i love transparency, but they're not going to negotiate. >> one person said if we have any chance at negotiation, no cameras. this is it, one time only. >> we'll all be here tomorrow watching it with our audience out there, our viewers. they'll get a chance to see what happens at blair house across the street from the white house. guys, thanks very much. 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. at least six hours, maybe seven hours of discussions, negotiations, whatever you want to call it, on health care reform. we're going to take a closer look at what's happening in orlando's sea world right now. it's a tragedy, a show featuring killer whale about to get under way when witnesses say one of the whales grabbed a trainer in its mouth. anncvo: with the new geico glovebox app...
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this week we're putting a spotlight on businesses that are finding ways to thrive as the economy shrinks. that's part of our "building of america" series. we look at the owner of a company who was able to overhaul her family's business after it burned to the ground. let's go to cnn's tom foreman. >> hey, wolf. one of the problems with a recession is that the rest of life doesn't stop for it. you still have the same issues of taking care of your house and your car and your family, things like that, and they can all be problems along the way you have to deal with. the woman we're looking at today in our "building of america" segment had more than her fair share. things really went very badly for her a few years ago, but she focused on solutions, and
despite the recession, look at where she is today. in all of central texas, there may be no one who knows more about rebuilding than the woman who runs this lumber company out on the edge of austin, because for the past few years that's all her life has been about. >> hey, there. what you got for me? >> a dozen years back, laura cullen took over her dad's business. and even as a single mother she was making a go of it until new year's eve 2005. and so then calamity strikes. what happened? >> a massive fire. everything that laura owns burnt to the ground. >> reporter: a million dollars worth of building, equipment, and inventory gone. laura had no insurance, little savings, but she did have conviction -- this would not defeat her. so laura moved into a house on the edge of the property and day
by day started to rebuild. now, remember, while this was happening, the entire construction industry in this country took a nosedive so, she didn't have to just rebuild, she had to remake her entire business plan. this is cotton insulation. >> this is made out of recycled plu jeans. >> reporter: to cash in on new construction trends, she began stocking more green products, recycled plastics, sustainable woo woods. by selling things like this, sustainable lumber, you're able to get a niche of the market that really nobody was serving quite that well. >> nobody. >> reporter: she tapped into a government program that pays young people to learn trades, augmenting her small staff. >> working in the hardware store, you'll be learning retail sales. >> reporter: you're also now renting out property. >> yes. >> reporter: she cut down on the space she uses, making some available to other struggling small businesses. >> what i'm doing right now is virtually impossible, which is a one-man shop.
>> reporter: and she joined a business group that meets every few weeks with a mentor, john brown, who owns a much bigger construction company. so the basic idea is it's better for the whole bz community if more established businesses help out those that are just coming along. >> yes. you should always be willing to grow the next generation. >> reporter: laura knows the economy is bad, but she's not afraid. do you think you have fully recovered at this point? >> no. no. but i am on the way up. >> reporter: because each time she winds down from another day of building up her corner of america, laura knows she'll be right back at it tomorrow. >> we are going to survive. >> reporter: and that is something we're seeing all over this part of texas. many of the people who are doing well say they're pulling in everything they can, their own initiative, their own ideas, their own ability to innovate, support from the community, and that's how they're getting
through not just the hard times of the recession but the normal hard times that come along during a recession, too. wolf? >> tom foreman with the cnn express in austin, texas. thank you, tom. good report. is the white house treating this year like it's already 2012? a report says there are already plans to re-elect president obama. is that true? if so, is it too early?
congress against targeting the automaker to prop up u.s. competitors. stand by. government projects coming in at twice the estimates. we're taking a closer look at why cost overruns are now so frequent. and blistering senate criticism. private contractors in afghanistan accused of engineering the u.s. mission there, endangering it, as well. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." more than 8 million vehicles have now been recalled. an untold number of people feared driving their cars, and tragically people have died. let's get more on toyota's problems as the company's chief testifies on capitol hill. one governor is making a provocative argument, saying toyota is an american car company and he wonders if the government might attack toyota just to promote general motors and chrysler, which the government bailed out. we're talking about mississippi's governor, haley barbour, who is joining us now.
governor barbour, thanks very much for coming in. >> thank you, wolf. >> shouldn't -- a lot of people say toyota has itself to blame for these problems. does it? >> well, sure. toyota's -- has made mistakes. they've been very aggressive about fixing those mistakes. they've been very aggressive about recognizing those mistakes. they made an enormous, enormous recall even though there have been very, very, very few incidents that have been reported. they've shut down factories to work on making sure that problems are being addressed appropriately. the dealers have been aggress e aggressive. i don't remember any automobile company in history, when a recall was made, that's gone to these lengths. in fact, if you look at all the recalls in the last 20 years of the united states, toyota is 17th out of 19 companies in the number of cars recalled based on
the numbers of cars sold based on market share. they've been very aggressive. >> we should point out that toyota has a plant. they're building priuses in mississippi. they employ a lot of people in mississippi and they have subcontractors who employ even more. so mississippi, obviously, you have an interest in making sure toyota remains robust and strong. >> well, we have a plant that is being built in mississippi. it isn't open yet. but toyota employs 200,000 people in the united states. if you take the company, its suppliers and dealers, 200,000 americans are employed by toyota. there are millions and millions of toyotas on the road in the united states. in fact, of all the toyotas sold in the last 22 years in the united states, 80% of them are still on the road. >> but even the president of toyota testified today before congress that they now realize they were slow in recognizing the enormity of this crisis, that they were slow in dealing with it, and they made major mistakes. >> i thought the president came
over here very cheerfully as well as voluntarily and said, look, we've made mistakes, we've been very aggressive in trying to correct them. we're going to continue. he talked about their processes and changes they've made in their processes. but, look, the problem here is 60% of general motors is owned by the united states government. a very significant share of chrysler is owned by the united states government. we need to be sure that this is a fair hearing and that also the goal is problem solving, not trying to beat up a competitor. >> all right. well, on that issue, governor -- >> and if you watched much of what went on today, you can see why i was concerned about that. >> i raised that issue. i spoke with ray lahood, the secretary of transportation. the points he made in the article in "the washington post," the op-ed you wrote, and he says you're flatout wrong. listen to this. >> what haley said in that article about the idea that we
may be too close to gm or chrysler because the government owns is absolute baloney, and i told him that personally when i saw him this weekend, when he was at the governor's conference and i was there, too. i don't believe it. he shouldn't believe it. and the american people shouldn't believe it. we recall cars when they're not safe, no matter what who the manufacturer is. >> all right. that's what he says about your point. >> yeah, wolf. let's talk about what i said. i said in my op-ed piece that ray lahood was an honorable, fair-minded guy. what i said was americans should be concerned about these congressional hearings, not about what secretary lahood was going to do. in fact, i went out of my way to say he was a fair person. what i said -- >> you did raise an issue of -- >> -- these congressional hearings could lend themselves to just trying to bash toyota. and i think if you watched them you'd see why i had that concern. >> but you did say in the article, and isle read it to
you, "the way that congress and the obama administration respond to this controversy will have real economic consequences," and you suggested that there was already a rush to judgment. those were your words. >> i said exactly how -- that -- how ho how they respond. but my concern in there is directly aimed at these hearings. >> not the obama administration. >> if you go back, you'll see that's what that sentence says. >> you're not concerned about the obama administration. >> i am much less concerned about the obama administration than these hearings, which is why i wrote it when i wrote it, to coincide with the hearings. i do believe people who watch the hearings can understand my concern. in fact, i would ask them, here's the president of a big japanese company that's an international company, of course, comes over voluntarily to testify before congress. what if an american ceo that did this is in japan or china, went over to testify before their legislature, and got treated
this way? what would we think of it? >> when you say "got treated this way," he was shown respect during these hearings today, wasn't he? >> i thought he got beat up -- i thought there was a lot of edge in what several of the people said. but i will say he comported himself in a way that made it plain, look, i'm here, i want to answer your questions, toyota doesn't have anything to hide, we're proud of this company and the quality of work it does. i do think if you listen through there you could hear plaintiffs' lawyers' echos in the background who are hoping this is going to be a great big payday for the plaintiffs' bar. i think you also know that some of the people there, who are very involved in this, are very big promoters of the detroit automobile companies, which are great companies that we buy lots of cars from in mississippi, but the government is the biggest stockholder in general motors. all right.
haley barbour not backing away from that point even in the face of criticism from lay rey lahood, the secretary of transportation. go governor, thanks for joining us. come back. >> hey, thank you, wolf. tomorrow at that health care summit it will be president obama versus republicans. which side do you think is being more uncooperative? we have some new polling numbers. stand by.
lisa silvester is monitoring other top stories. what else is going on? a sea world, orlando, trainer is dead after being attacked by a killer whale bp the trainer just finished explaining what would happen in the show when the whale came out of the water and grabbed her around the waist. guests were told to leave and the park was closed. the same whale was involved in two other incidents, one in 1999 that left a man dead and another involving the drowning of a
trainer from british columbia. sea world has announced it is closing and suspending their shows. we'll continue to monitor the story. in other news, a colorado teacher says he always wondered what he would do with if a school shooting broke out. well, yesterday, david bahnke found out. he tackled the gunman as he was about to reload his rifle at a middle school just two miles from the columbine high school. two students were shot, one is still in the hospital. bail for the 32-year-old suspect is set at $1 million. and secretary of state hillary clinton says domestic political battles are hurting foreign policy and damaging the united states' image. in testimony to a congressional committee, clinton said the fight between the white house and congress have led to gridlock on appointments to critical positions. she says it's getting harder to explain to countries why there isn't anyone in a position to interact with them. wolf? lisa, thank you. lisa will be back. is it too early for the white house to be planning president obama's re-election campaign? james carville and ben stein are here to talk about that.
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guys, thanks very much for coming in. this is a strategy session. let's talk about some numbers that we're getting from our new cnn opinion research corporation poll. is obama doing enough to cooperate with the gop? right now 52% say yes, in november 49%. is obama not doing enough? excuse me. is obama not doing enough to cooperate with the gop and it's increased dramatically. 52%, james, saying he's not doing enough. back in april it was 36%. the american public increasingly believes he is not doing enough to cooperate with the republicans. >> well, i think that's why you're seeing this sort of health care summit, if you will, on the course of the other side of the coin. talking about larger margin, the republicans not doing enough. but i think the american people are understandably frustrated with gridlock and they're not happy about that. you saw this jobs bill pass with more republican support than people thought, you saw the
president calling the summit, saw him go to republican caucus so, i suspect they're kind of looking at some of the numbers in the white house and trying to adjust to this. >> a lot more americans think the republican, ben, aren't doing enough to cooperate with president obama. it's been fairly steady back in april, 61%, now 67%. so it's gone up there. so, americans don't believe the republicans want to cooperate either. >> well, there's a fairly steady drugmaker ba drumbeat coming out of the white house, the bully pulpit, saying the media is largely with what the white house says. this is true. and i blame the republicans very much for it myself because they have not come up with any alternatives, any really meaningful alternatives for health care. i mean, this stuff about cutting off lawsuits and having people be able to sell insurance in the interstate. that's trivia. they probably should be coming up with their own alternative plan, and i think if they did that, if there were meaningful plans, probably a higher opinion of republican cooperation. >> james, what's the prospect,
the likelihood, if you will, that the republicans and the president and the democrats and republicans will emerge from tomorrow's six or seven hours of talks at blair house and say we're on to something, we're going to work together and reach a compromise on health care? >> you know, not highly unlikely but they say here's three things that we can kind of agree on, and that they might be quasicosmetic and i don't think it would be something that would satisfy either ben or i, but i think that when you look at numbers like this and both in the republican congress and the white house and the democratic congress, i think that it's in the interest of both sides to come up with something and something of a little more than window dressing that they could agree on. >> is it in the interest of the republicans -- ben, is it many the interest of the republicans? >> absolutely. absolutely. nobody wants to come out of the meeting tomorrow looking like he is the thug or the train wrecker or the person who's sabotaging
congress. everyone wants to look like he or she is the one trying to make progress and the other guys are the intransigent ones. i think everyone will put on a face of bonn amie and friendship, but we'll see who's cooperating. i think mr. obama has got to realize this idea of comprehensively smashing the health care system and rebuilding from the ground up, that isn't going to fly. he has to try a more moderate approach. that's my humble opinion. americans are scared to go to the doctor, with good reason, doctors hurt you. they help you, too, but they hurt you. >> james, did you see that lengthy article on politico.com that informally the white house already gearing up for 2012, planning to have campaign headquarters in chicago, they've got a team in place, they've got staff ready to go? is that normal or is it a little early to be doing all that? >> well, you know, we could argue whether or not it's too
early, and it might be, but what is inarguable is someone shouldn't have run their mouth to mike allen about it. and if i'm the president of the united states, i would be, like, bouncing off the walls or more appropriately bouncing some staff people off the walls here. i've always admired the president's operation and campaign. they were very disciplined and tightlipped. but why in the world would somebody -- and i know mike allen, he wouldn't make this up, why somebody would be running their mouth to him i have no earthly idea. and this is the last story that this white house needs right now. >> but it makes a lot of sense because after all, mr. obama can't control the north korean, the russians, can't control hugo chavez, can't control the congress, cannot control the economy. he can control starting up his campaign, so he might as well do that. >> ben stein, james carville. i guess nobody should be surprised he's thinking about 2012 but james thinks he's made a good point but they shouldn't
right back to jack for the cafferty report. >> is it too early for president obama to be planning his re-election campaign? cliff says that every politician in both parties starts to run for re-election on the first day. the only way to handle selflessness and limit corruption is term limits. if the milk i buy has a date to
prevent spoilage, why shouldn't the same apply to the legislators. and this one, why not, let's just hope that cheney and palin don't start planning. and this one, he needs to worry more about the economy, jobs, the deficit, health care and getting republicans to work the democrats instead of worrying about his re-election bid. he won't be re-elected unless things change between now and 2012. and this one from richard, i have a couple of catchy slogans he can use. isn't it time you were disappointed again? read my lips, no new tax cuts. and o'reilly says it is not time for obama to plan for the re-election, afterall, his opponents on the conservative side have started to plot his ouster.t and thadous says it is too
early. and pete says he is like a dog chasing a car, he doesn't have a clue what to do if he catches it. if you want to read more, go to my blog on cnn.com/caffertyfile. and a projected price tag of $4 billion, and just wait until you hear how much the price tag has gone up. [ man ] you all right? [ male announcer ] we all need people who will be there for us in life. people who say, "we're with you, no matter what." at wachovia and wells fargo, we're with you, when a house turns into a home... excuse me, rufus. [ male announcer ] ...when a passion becomes a career... ♪ ...when a relationship turns into a lifetime... and when all the hard work finally pays off. we're with you when you need someone to stand by you.
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where advanced degrees advance the quality of life. all week in the "broken government" series we have been focusing in what is wrong with washington and what can be done to fix it. lisa sylvester is back and looking at why so many government projects end up costing so much more than we were originally told. lisa, what are you finding out? >> well, wolf, the country is facing a $1.3 trillion deficit for this year. yet, there are government projects coming in way over budget. >> reporter: with 580,000 square feet and three levels and marble floors and two theaters and the largest cafeteria in washington, the capitol hill visitors center offers guests a grand welcome. taxpayers shelled out $621 million, more than two times the original estmated cost. one example of a cost overrun.
when the price tag for a project approved by congress balloons out of control. >> it is always the natural tendency of bureaucracies and the politicians who benefit from them to sell us something at one price and then jack that price up later, and in hopes that we won't notice. >> reporter: according to the government account blability office, the osprey development cost increased from $4.2 billion to $12.7 billion between 1986 and 2007. the stimulus project originally passed congress with $87 billion price tag, but later the congressional budget office revised that number upwards to $862 billion, due to higher costs for unemployment compensation. the yucca mountain site for burying nuclear waste has gone
up to $67 billion. why are we seeing these cost overruns? >> what you are seeing with the jointstrike fighter program and the osprey fighters is that it will be way too optimistic and not realistic. >> reporter: cost overruns happened in the private sector and not reported as frequently as the government. but the kato institute, a group that favors smaller government says there is not enough oversight of federal spending. >> congressional oversight is not a sexy thing to do and members would rather spend on new projects and when you think of a new member of congress with weapons contractor in their district, they are not very concerned about cost overruns. >> reporter: but when the projects exceed their expected cost, it is not congress' money at stake, it is the taxpayers. cost overruns tend to happen in large spending programs from
energy to nasa to the pentagon, but last year lawmakers passed and signed into law a measure that adds more oversight to the defense department's procurement process which calls for tracking growth before they proceed on a project, wolf. >> we are talking about billions and billions and billions of dollars. thank you, lisa for that report. >> thank you. and mr. toyoda himself goes before congress and apologizes to american customers for deadly safety flaws. did federal safety authorities drop the ball? i will ask transportation secretary ray lahood. and a hamas commander, now suddenly the number of suspects doubles and the conspiracy goes around the world with one trail leading to the united states. and the breaking news we are following a shocking death at orlando's sea world, where a killer whale mauls a trainer as
a horrified audience looks on. i'm wolf blitzer, and we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. world. you are in "the situation room." -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com a rare display of bipartisan has both democrats and republicans laying into the president of toyota in first of three congressional hearings of the company's recall of more than 8 million vehicles. he is the grandson of the founder, but president since last summer and appeared before the government oversight and reform committee. he apologized repeatedly for the accidents involving toyota and the confusion surrounding the massive recall. listen to this testimony. >> i'm akio toyoda of toyota corporation. i'd first like to state that i love cars as much as anyone. i love toyota as much as anyone.
i am here with my toyota family of dealers, front team members and friends. i take the most pleasure in offering a vehicle that our customers love, and i know that toyota's 200,000 team members, dealers and suppliers across america feel the same way. however n the past few months, our customers have started to feel uncertain about the safety of toyota's vehicle, and i take full responsibility for that. we will devise a system in which around the world we will reach our management in a timely manner and also assist them in which each region will be able to make a decision as necessary. further, we will form a quality advisory group composed of
respected outside experts from north america and around the world to ensure that we do not make misguided issues. we go over the level to deliver to the organization and people, and we should be serious to be mindful of that. i regret that this has resulted in the safety issue described in the recall we face today, and i am deeply sorry for any accident that toyota drivers have experienced. especially i would like to extend my condolences to the members of t members of the family in the accident in san diego. i would like to send my prayers again, and i will do everything in my power to ensure that such a tragedy never happens again.
>> toyota's japan's largest company, so there is a tremendous interest in the hearing in japan. the spectacle that the japanese viewers are seeing is a world away not only in distance but also in culture. let's go to cnn's kyung lah who is joining us from tokyo. what are people there saying, kyung? >> well, wolf, they were waking up and hearing this conversation happening in that hearing room. all of this happening just as morning news was going to hair here. so we got early reaction from some of the commentators on the morning news. early on, it was that akio toyoda was doing well, because they were expecting worse behavior from the congress. they showed clips of other members being skewered by the members of congress, and this is not that, but they were saying that the questions were tough, and that akio toyoda is trying to answer as directly as
possible in an american way, but having trouble early on. what is interesting is that as the hearing went on and on and toward the end, we saw the tone shift slightly here in japan, and people at that point were starting to say that, is this politically motivated? where are these legislators coming from? what districts do they represent? there is talk that this is midterm election time in the united states, and perhaps that is why the tough questions, but the early reaction here, wolf, toyoda was able to stand his ground and try to win over the american audience. >> and he has been in charge since last june, and the grandson of the founder, but he did study here in the united states and went to the bapson school of business in boston. you heard him in the opening statement speak in english and then went through a translator in the question and answer
session, but this could not happen in japan, this spectacle, could it? >> absolutely not. there is simply no equivalent and not close here in japan. you will never see a head of a japanese corporation being hauled infront of lawmakers to answer questions like this. this is a totally different culture. even being asked direct questions in japanese does not happen here. this is not also a consumer-oriented culture. this is a company-driven culture. so it is a very different situation, and something that is completely foreign to people here in japan, but also, remember this, akio toyoda, a different situation for him, even though he was u.s.-educated, still a foreign place. >> thank you, kyung lah, and we will check back with you. there is a breaking news story here in the united states coming to us from orlando, florida, where a killer whale at orlando's sea world, very popular with parents and kids, attacked and drowned a trainer.
an experienced trainer in front of a shocked audience. let's get all of the latest from brian todd who has been looking into the story for us. people not only here in the united states, but they are familiar with sea world, but all over the world are going the be shocked by this story. what do we know ? what happened? >> well, she what we know at sea world in orlando a female trainer killed this afternoon by a massive killer whale. it happened in a whale holding area in front of an audience. jim sullivan talked with reporters a short time ago and gave this account of the incident. >> at 2:00 today, orange county sheriff's office an orange county rescue responded to a report of injury at the shamu stadium. the workers got on scene and realized that the victim was deceased. what apparently happened is that we have a female trainer back in the whale holding area and slipped or fell into the tang
and fatally injured by one of the whales. we are on scene with the forensics and homicide investigators and conducting a death investigation. >> jim solomon said that the trainer slipped and fell into the tank and then injured by the whale, but an eyewitness told an affiliate that the whale jumped up and grabbed the trainer. here is that witness' account. >> we walked down and there were a lot of people standing at the window talking about the whale and people were asking questions, how much does he weigh and that, and the whale floated upside down and the trainer said, oh, yeah, he is, they are giving him a belly rub, they like him. and you could tell by the huge fins. and the trainer downstairs called out to the trainer upstairs, okay, so and so, we're ready, and then he took off like a bat out of you know where, really, fast and then came around to the glass and jumped
up and grabbed the trainer by the waist and started shaking her violently, and her shoe was floating and then sirens immediately started and everybody down. and not the trainer, but other people standing around the glass area started to tell us that we needed to get out, get out. the sirens were out and people were running out. i have never seen so many sea world employees coming out of the woodworks and people in suits and work clothes and yelling to get out. >> the trainer killed is described a as 40-year-old woman. dan brown, the president of orlando parks said that she drowned and you heard that eyewitness account saying that the whale jumped up and grabbed her and shook her violently. and those two accounts may not conflict with each other and maybe she was injured by the grabbing and possibly killed by the grabbing and also killed by being drowned obviously if the whale then brought her into the water. the president of orlando parks, dan brown, describes this trainer as one of the most
experienced animal trainers they have, wolf. and one of the rescuers said when they got there, they did not perform life-saving procedures for this victim, because she was already deceased. >> this name, particular whale tillicam. >> yes. >> and involved in the death of two others? >> yes, cnn accounts from 1999 describes one incident of a male somehow afterhours or something climbed into the pool and was his body was found the next morning kind of draped over the whale. again, apparently drowned and not sure of the circumstances around that. there was another incident in 1991 where someone was drowned in the same pool that this whale was in. it is a massive whale with 22,000 pounds and 22 feet long. what is interesting is that shortly after this incident, people forthe ethical treatment
of animals came out with a blistering statement. and they are essentially saying, tell sea world for years, don't use these animals in interaction with human beings and it is too dangerous and that is what you have today. >> you take a killer whale and put it in a pool like this, stuff happens potentially, and we saw it today. you will stay on top of the investigation for us and we will check back and speak with an authority on this subject coming up as well. we will stay on top of the breaking news. later this hour, we will speak with an expert on killer wlal and try to get insight on what happened at sea world today. also, stunning new developments into the assassination of a hamas leader as multiple new suspects are revealed and possible u.s. connection. and toyota recall and the safety regulators, were they asleep? transportation secretary ray lahood joins us in "the situation room" this hour to respond. the budget masters.
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jack cafferty joins was the cafferty file. jack? >> our government broken. it is going to spend $1 billion of taxpayers' money to build a high security embassy in london. $1 billion. 12 stories and 500,000 square foot fortress built in the likeness of a light-filled cube and surrounded by natural defenses of a meadow, woodland and 100-foot-wide moat.
yeah, a moat. the philadelphia architect says that they were able to use the landscape as a security device which is meant to protect the embassy from potential bombers and remove the need for blast barriers. just put some crocodiles in the moat. construction is set to start in 2013 and should be finished in 2017. this new london embassy being built is one of the greenest and most eco-friendly in the world with solar panels on the roof and energy-absorbing materials lining the exterior and they will be able to collect and store london's rainfall, so when it comes to water the building is self-sufficient, which is all good and fine, and well, $1 billion price tag makes it one of the costliest u.s. em bas sis ever built which leads us to the question of tone deaf. these are announced at a time of record deficits and 10% unemployment and millions of americans struggling to make ends meet to pay for food and
health care and our government is planning for a castle-like embassy with a moat. a billion dollars' worth. here is the question, is now the time for the government the announce plans for a $1 billion embassy in london? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile and post a comment on my blog. >> thank you, jack. jack will have a special on broken government friday night at 7:00 p.m. eastern right after "the situation room," and you will want to see that. cnn is looking at broken government all week and one reason given for the partisan gridlock in washington is the imaginative mapping of congressional districts. our national political correspondent jessica yellin has more on the "broken government" series. tell us about this, jessica, because a lot of people remain confused confused, but they don't understand fully the implications. >> these are important districts, wolf. when you look at dysfunctional government, you can trace it
back to the way that the congressional districts are drawn. tonight, i am talking about gerry mandering which is the practice of drawing the districts to change the rules of the game so that political parties stay in power and get what they want often at the expense of voters. >> reporter: take a look at iowa and look at how rational the lines are, compact and side-by-side communities and makes sense, right? compare that to pennsylvania's 12th. creative, right? up, down, thin, long, skipping communities. now, this is understood to be an incumbent protection district, and in fact, it was congressman john murtha's district from 1974 until he died this month. okay. then there is new york's 28th, affectionately known as the ear muff district, and you can see why. you see the upside down ear muffs, sort of. maryland's 2nd district, one end is jagged to be fair, because it is the coastline, but inside,
that's pretty daring. i spoke with the man who mapped out these districts, robert cheatham, and his special is high-tech mappingb but he runs the blog redistricting the nation.com. he says that districts like this, florida's 22nd just proved that the system needs to change. this one is in some instances no more than a few miles wide. >> most of it. and it cuts across many communities. >> who don't have shared interest. >> it is tough to make the case that it is a shared constituency. >> why is this the example of a sort of thing that wouldn't exist and shouldn't exist? >> ideally, we wouldn't have legislators drawing districts. >> reporter: he says that the u.s. is nearly alone in still allowing this practice. well, while it is common in the undeveloped world where you have lots of corruption, the preferred solution in his view -- >> ideally, we would have nonpartisan commissions that draw the districts and make them available for approval by the legislature. >> wolf, a big push for reform.
there are four states who have nonpartisan commissions which draw the lines for congressional districts, and there are reforms under way in 14 other states, but of course, redistricting is going to come up again, because of the census this year, and this issue is far from dead. >> but some of the districts are redrawn, and redrawn all of the time for what is seen as a good reason and the courts have upheld this. >> yes, that is true. sometimes they are drawn in a certain way to give underrepresented groups a voice that they might not otherwise have. listen. >> for example, north carolina's 12th, the most litigated district in the country. the supreme court weighed in on this one and said, yes, it should look like this. that is basically to give african-americans a representative. here is cheatham. >> this is a community of interest of african-americans who can then elect a representative for themselves. >> so it zigs and zags and goes south and north and back and forth because it is capturing
various groups of african-american voters so that together they are sure to have an african-american representative? >> that the general idea. er. >> reporter: that put congressman mel watt in office who has been there since 1993. racial gerry mandering is in fact illegal but the court decided this is something different. so, wolf, the idea of gerry mandering and redrawing the districts is not simple, but one reason that the nation's politics are polarized is because of the way the districts are drawn. so if they are designed to keep partisans in office, then it encourages partisans. the people who represent the moderate center get drowned out just because of the way the districts are drawn. >> gerry mandering explained well by jessica yellin. thank you very much, jessica, for that. questions are swirling around the death of an seaworld trainer killed in front of a horrified audience to day by a killer whale. we are following the breaking
turkey's government accuses them of fostering fundamentalism. vermont's senate is voting to close the state's only nuclear power plant after year 2012. they voted on a 20-year extension of the plant, and they say that the plant is old and less reliability, but vermont says they need the energy from plant and the good-paying jobs. it seemed like a simple enough plan slipped down the brick oven brazilian bar and rob the place. well, what the 19-year-old suspect didn't count on is getting stuck. not bright, huh? the firefighters were called to free him and they had to destroy the oven to do it. this man is expected to be charged with attempted robbery. i don't even know what you say after something like that? it is the old cliche, you try to go down the chimney and what was he thinking that would happen? >> look at that. the pictures are dramatic. thank you, lisa. a killer whale attacks killing a trainer at orlando's
seawhale which happened in front of a shocked audience, parents and kids. how could it happen? we will speak to a marine biologist. >> and now more clues in the killing of a hamas commander. why one of the trails leads to the united states. what is going on here? were federal safety authorities asleep at the switch when it came to toyota's acceleration problems? i will speak with the transportation secretary ray lahood. what happened? i used to ask my broker for advice. funny how the "best" funds always turned out to be his. what about the funds we bought years ago? yeah. how do we know they're still right for us? td ameritrade does mutual funds differently. with free, unbiased research. like td ameritrade's premier list. it shows me top picks, from the fund experts at morningstar associates. that's advice i can trust. and simple, powerful portfolio tools. morningstar instant x-ray helps us analyze the holdings inside our funds. yep. no more flying blind. you'll find 4- and 5-star funds
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to our viewers, you are in "the situation room," and happening now is the breaking news we are following a. killer whale kills one of its veteran trainers in seaworld orlando. we have a biologist standing by. in a new twist of a killing that seems to be something out of a spy novel. the assassination of a hamas leader in a luxury hotel and suddenly the number ofs s of s is exploding, and is there a u.s. connection? and a fallout of the toyota recalls is plummeting safety regulators, and you will want to see my interview with the transportation secretary ray lahood. i'm wolf blitzer, and you are in "the situation room." let's get some more now on today's historic hearings on the toyota recall.
it is not just the car maker coming under fire, critics says that the nhtsa, national highway transportation safety agency should have acted more vigorously. ray lahood is strongly defending the agency. he is here in "the situation room" and joining us shortly. first, some background. cnn's mary snow has more of the criticism of nhtsa, both old and new and the criticism has been going on for a long time. what are you finding out, mary? >> well, wolf, the people we are talk to says that this is an agency under a strain for some time. nhtsa's troubles with toyota are front and center, but they say that the regulator cop over automakers has a history of trouble. >> reporter: mention the national highway transportation safety agency to john, and you
will hear this story about a passenger that was crushed by a defect in the 2004 p.t. cruiser. johnson points a finger at the agency that is supposed to be the watchdog over carmakers. >> well, what should have been done to prevent this is to have federal safety standards that mean something. when it comes to autos. >> nhtsa had considered changing requirements for seats in 1994, but no action has been taken and it is still looking at the issue. it says that the balance of seats has balanced the restraints and conducting research and testing to conduct the best results. with the toyota recall bringing intense scrutiny to nhtsa, one of the former administrators say, there is an underlying
theme. >> this is an important end, talented agency, but it is in disrepair. it needs a huge infusion of cash, and more staff. it does not have some of the expertise that it needs for example electronic engineers and so on. >> reporter: nhtsa has a staff of 635 employees with 57 working for the office of defects investigation and says it reviews more than 30,000 consumer complaints a year. its budget is $856 million with roughly 70% given to states for highway traffic safety grants. compare that to the faa which has a budget of $17 billion. the agency only got authority by congress in 2000 to hire more staff after ford ordered a massive recall of firestone tires. some of the same issues raised by nhtsa today were raised eight years ago after the ford firestone recall. in 2002, the office of inspector general here at the department of transportation had issued this report, and it was critical
of nhtsa's ability to identify potential safety defects. it also offered suggestions for improvements so why eight years late sr is the same agency bein audited? >> well, as yogi berra would say, it is deja vu all over again. >> does it work? >> it can. >> this man worked for nhtsa for 25 years, and he says that one big issue is that the agency lacks teeth when it comes to slapping fines on the automakers. the maximum is $16.4 billion. if it were a cold business decision, the manufacturers would say, let's not do the recall and see if nhtsa pressures us further and that is a drop in the bucket compared to the recall to pay the fine. >> reporter: and there is criticism of ray lahood's agency. >> we have been a lap dog for nobody. we have been a lap dog for the
people who want to drive cars and have them safe. safety is our number one priority. >> reporter: transportation secretary ray lahood testified today and not the nhtsa president david strictland, because he has been on the job for 16 weeks, and before that, only an acting director. >> we will ask ray lahood about that, because that interview will have a lot of questions with the transportation thank you, mary. my interview with the transportation secretary when we come back. when you want a bank that travels with you. with you when you're ready for the next move. [ male announcer ] now that wells fargo and wachovia have come together, what's in it for you? unprecedented strength, the stability of the leading community bank in the nation and with 12,000 atms and thousands of branches, we're with you in more ways and places than ever before. with you when you want the most from your bank. [ male announcer ] wells fargo. together we'll go far.
massive recall. company president akio toyoda was not alone on the hot seat. transportation secretary ray lahood testified for hours. he said that the toyota recall cars are not necessarily that safe right now, and they need to be inspected. you need the go back to the factory and go back to the dealers to make sure that they are safe. and he was forced to defend his department's own safety regulators. >> and joining us now, the secretary of transportation, ray lahood. mr. secretary, thanks very much for joining us. first, we were told it was the floor mats and then the carpeting and then the sticky pedals and now word that maybe the electronics -- do we know why these sudden accelerations with toyotas are going on? do you know the reason for this >> we know that the sticky pedal is a problem. wi we know that the floor mats are a problem and enough complaints about the electronics that we
will do a complete review of that. but what people should do is go on the website dot.gov and if they have one of the vehicles take the car to the dealer. >> what is taking so long to find out the cause of the sudden accelerations? >> we believe that the floor mat is part of the problem and the sticky pedal is part of the problem. toyota believes that, too, but we have had enough complaints about the electronics that we need to do a review of that, and look at the information that toyota has and look at the information that the professor at siu put together in carbondale, illinois, and he did a study of toyotas and find the very best information we can to make sure we have 100% certainty about what is causing this problem. >> pending this review and you are still in the middle of the electronics part of it, would you let one of your loved ones, your kids or wife drive a
toyota? >> wolf, what i have said in answer to that kind of a question is, we will not rest until every toyota is safe. we are going to work 24/7 to make that happen. that is our obligations to the driving public. it is something that we have insist on and we won't rest until every toyota is safe. >> in the meantime, is it safe to drive a toyota? >> if your car is listed on the website, take it to the toyota dealer. if you are experiencing problems, take it to the dealer and have them fix it. >> but if there is no remedy yet on the electronics, issue, and that is still up in the air and toyota now admits it, and you are saying that, so what are they going the fix it if they don't know what the electronics problem is? >> well, we need to know the problem and what is it and how the fix it and if it is serious problem. for now, we know that we have fixed some of the issues that have caused the acceleration. >> but in the meantime, until you know the problem, i guess --
i will try one more time. is it safe to drive a toyota pending the resolution of the electronics matter? >> if you are experiencing problems with your toyota, take it to the dealer. if your car is on the recall, you should definitely take it to the dealer and get it fixed. that is the best advice i can give you, wolf. >> let me play this clip of rhonda smith who testified this week before congress and the experience she had with her toyota built lexus. listen to this. >> this failure is shared by toyota and nhtsa today. in our view, they have demonstrated an uncaring attitude and disregard for life. the results have been tragic, and today, i must say, shame on you, toyota, for being so greedy. and shame on you, nhtsa, for not doing your job. >> nhtsa, is the national highway traffic safety administration. which is part of your department
of transportation. is nhtsa underfunded? >> the president has included 66 new positions in our 2011 budget. we have the people and the expertise to really find these problems and get the car manufacturers to fix them. one of the reasons that i listened to that testimony yesterday from mrs. smith and i know the horrific anxiety caused by the acceleration of her vehicle, and we encourage people, if you are having a problem, take it to the toyota dealer. if you are on the recall, definitely take it back and get it fixed. >> so, yes, it is underfund and understaffed right now? >> well, we will get additional people in the 2011 budget. we have sufficient number of people and using outside folks to help us when we need them to correct these problems. >> even if you get these additional staff people that the
president sought, will that be enough? >> it will be enough, wolf. if we don't have the right expertise, we can always go outside and contract for that, but we do have a lot of expert career people in nhtsa that are addressing these safety issues. >> there is a lot of complaints that nhtsa which is to oversee all of the safety issues is too close to the automobile industry. do you buy that? >> not at all, wolf. our number one priority is safety. that is what people wake up and really do every day at nhtsa. they care about these safety issues. they address them, and our priority is to make sure that when people buy a car, it is the safest car, and we are not going to rest until every toyota is safe for people to drive. >> a lot of the reporters who have covered these issues, including nhtsa over the years have always complained that this is an organization that refuses to cooperate with the press. they don't have transparency inside, and you can't get
interviews with the top leaders. are you going to try to open up nhtsa, so it is more transparent to the american public? >> of course. if there are opportunities for us to do that with our friends in the media, we will always take those opportunities. >> it is the -- the new head of nhtsa, david strickland has been on the job for six weeks, and why has it taken the obama administration so long to get someone in charge over there? >> well, we had a very good acting administrator prior to david coming on. david has the experience to run the organization, and, you know, wolf, we have career people, and we had a good acting administrator and we have our full-time administrator on board and i have been paying attention to the issues for 13 months since i have been the secretary. nobody has been asleep at the switch here. i have committed to safety as our number one priority. as secretary, i will carry out these safety opportunities whenever we can. >> the governor of mississippi,
haley barbour who has a prius plant in mississippi wrote an article in the "washington post" raising questions about your credibility among other things saying, i know transportation secretary ray lahood to be an honorable man, but can these hearings be seen as impartial focused on enforcing the rules and policing corporate behavior when the federal government has stakes in two major car companies? in other words, he is saying that what you are maybe trying to do is to help american car manufacturers at the expense of toyota. >> in the last three years, wolf, there have been 23 million recalls. the majority of them have not been toyota. they have been american cars also, cars that were made in america by a american car manufacturers. what haley said in that article about the idea that we may be too close to gm or chrysler, because of the government owns -- it is absolute baloney. i told him that personally when
i saw him this weekend when he was at the governor's conference and i was there, too. i don't believe it. he shouldn't believe it. and the american people shouldn't believe it. we recall cars when they are not safe no matter who the manufacturer is. >> mr. secretary, good luck. we are counting on you and there is a lot of concern, as you know and we hope that you and nhtsa get on the job to fix it as best you can together obviously with toyota. >> thank you, wolf. a killer whale kills an experienced trainer as a horrified crowd looks on. we will speak with a marine biologist. time to face the pollen that used to make me sneeze, my eyes water. but with new zyrtec® liquid gels, i get allergy relief at liquid speed. that's the fast, powerful relief of zyrtec®, now in a liquid gel. zyrtec® is the fastest 24-hour allergy medicine. it works on my worst symptoms so i'm ready by the time we get to the first hole. and that's good because the competition's steep today. new zyrtec® liquid gels work fast, so i can love the air.™
a guy named his own price, wants a room tonight for 65 dollars. we don't go lower than 130. big deal, persuade him. is it wise to allow a perishable item to spoil? he asked, why leave a room empty? the additional revenue easily covers operating costs. 65 dollars is better than no dollars. okay. $65 for tonight. you can't argue with a big deal. "what do you mean homeowners insurance doesn't cover floods?" "a few inches of water caused all this?" "but i don't even live near the water."
what you don't know about flood insurance may shock you. including the fact that a preferred risk policy starts as low as $119 a year. for an agent, call the number on your screen. back to the breaking news we are following a killer whale attacks that kills a trainer in orlando's seaworld and how dangerous are these giants? let's get some perspective from billy hurley of the georgia aquarium. billy, when you heard about this, how shocked were you? >> i was not as much shocked, but saddened for the seaworld
family and our heart goes out to them. these types of things happen when you fly jets and play with big cats and big whales, and these things occur. >> but this big whale has killed two others in the past still out there at seaworld and how dangerous is that? >> well, physics is not working with us when you play with a 12,000-pound animal. unlike a dog at home, he is not going the scratch you, but he is going to pull you around. >> so that raises the question, is it safe to take these killer whales and bring them in from the oceans and put them in a pool like this and play with them, if you will. >> well, wolf, i am not sure that those things are related. when you look at the killer whales in the wild, they do horrific looking things to hu n humans whether it is grabbing sea lions and often the behavior in our care is relationship oriented, so it is unusual to see an animal this stressed.
>> should they review the policies there at seaworld. >> i only know they have great, great procedures and analyzing them, and working on the care of tilikum. >> well, some places that do this kind of stuff, they want people to get close to the killer whales and it is exciting and young kids like to see, and maybe everyone should rethink that. >> well, i think that as a human we all appreciate the relationships with animals and when we go to sea world or the georgia aquarium, it will give us a chance to watch the relationship with nature and it is an impressive thing, so i have to say that it is certainly something that seaworld does well and we continue to see good things out of them. >> if in fact, this killer whale has now killed three human beings, what should they do with this whale? >> love it more and spend more time with the relationship. they do a great job with that
and they will exercise that relationship and exercise that love further. >> you heard the statement from pita saying that this is really inhumane to take these animals and bring them from their natural environment and get them into the small environment and what are you expecting when you do that? >> well, you know, i appreciate pita's opinion on, that and they have their own extreme view of it and my view would be completely different. we have an opportunity with these animals in our care with a lot of the protech shup and conversation efforts come from the interaction with them, so i have to strongly disagree. >> billy hurley from the georgia aquarium. thank you for coming in. jack cafferty is next with his question, and jeanne moose takes us through her report.
let's check in with jack for the cafferty file. >> the question this how, is now the time for the government to announce plans for a 1 billion flrs embassy in london complete with mote? shawn in cleveland s there a good time to announce the government wants to spend $1 billion on an embassy. there has to be a castle with a neat can negotiated for. carl in san francisco, you didn't mention the security condition of the existing embassy. with london, a hot bed of terrorist activity, perhaps we don't have have a choice. i take it the queen isn't renting out park of buckingham palace so we are on our own. brian qui writes, when a nation establishes diplomatic
relations, it's customary to construct an embassy. when they did thai discover this england you speak of? and joe writes, in the construction period the economy will go up and down. few let the possibility of a short term down cycle derail projects, it will lead to waste. something like this should fall on its merits, not short term rousing. brian in washington, if the u.s. government plans to spend $1 billion, they ought to be more imaginative than a cube structure. why not make it look like a bust of margaret. thatter with glowing eyes. and don writes, who is going to attack our embassy in london? the british are coming. read more online. >> it's an expensive embassy in
deed. toyoda the man grilled about toyota the car. gecko: all right... gecko: good driver discounts. now that's the stuff...? boss: how 'bout this? gecko: ...they're the bee's knees? boss: or this? gecko: sir, how 'bout just "fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance." boss: ha, yeah, good luck with that catching on! anncr: geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance.
in syria, people walk through a market decorated for the mohamed's birthday friday. and london, a black lab dor receives a military avard for sniffing out explosives in afghanistan. pictures worth 1,000 worth. a giant of the out motive industry is in the hot seat. jeanne moose takes a most unusual look. >> reporter: with cameras whirring like insects, the press preyed upon toyota's ceo as they pushed and shoved to get a shot. and congressmen took turns holding up gas pedals. >> it means when you take your foot off -- >> reporter: and though toyota was on emp's list -- >> i'm a great fan of toyota.
>> reporter: the car as opposed to grandson. >> it has more toe owe da's name on it. >> my name is on every car. >> reporter: not exactly his name. >> mr. toyoda. >> toyota ceo akio toyoda. the family changed the name of the car company from toyoda with a "d" to with a "t." and because in pap neez, it has more brush strokes, eight instead of ten. and eight is a lucky number. despite his apologies. >> aim sorry from the deepest part of my heart. >> reporter: there were no bows of contrition. and the going got rough at the congressional hearing, especially for the head of
toyota of north american. >> this is one of the most embarrassing documents i have seen. >> it's like a hanging before the trial. >> reporter: the poor translater gets shoved up to the mike. this is nothing compared to the jobs from media. >> toyota thon or death. >> reporter: they ran into their own effects. >> the special treatment he is going to get -- that is horrible. can we unlock it? >> did it so gracefully. >> reporter: the most famous encounter with a locked door. mr. toyoda wishes he was locked out of the door. >> thank you for your testimony.
>> reporter: new york. happening now, a company associated with shocking controversy sees another. the business formally known as black water. why did an employee take weapons intended for the afghan police using a name from "south park". toyota's ceo takes center stage and says he is saddened about the deaths from his cars. a death at seaworld. a killer whale drags a woman to her death. we have details about the victim, and it appears the whale was involved in other deaths as well. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." first the breaks news out of florida where a killer whale attacked and drowned an
experienced trainer as an audience watched in horror. dan brown is the president of seaworld orlando. >> this is a difficult time for the sea word parks and team members. nothing is more important than the safety of the employees, guests, and the animals in our care. we have never in the history of our park experienced an incident like this and all of our standard operating procedures will come under review. >> brian todd has been digging in the story. what is going on? >> reporter: new information from the orange county sheriff's office. the name of the trainer killed. 40-year-old dawn brancheau. dan brown, president of orlando parks, said earlier she was one of the most experienced animal trainers at seaworld. she drowned in the incident.
the sheriffs department saud it appeared that she might have fallen and slipped into a tank. but eyewitnesses said the whale jumped up and grabbed brancheau. here is the account. >> she was standing on the rack above the viewing area. he took off, came back, grabbed her and started thrashing around and her shoe fell off. he was -- he was thrashing her around pretty good. it was violent. >> reporter: we also have new accounts from eyewitnesses who saw an earlier killer whale incident. listen to what this video said about how the whales were behaving in that show. >> it was obvious that one or two of the whale us was not listening. and they started speeding around the tank there. and so there was a little bit of confusion and they let the whale does their own things and the trainers all got out of the
water. and then they came back and explained, this is a little unusual. and here's what's going on. they are not listening to our command. >> reporter: we're told the name of the whale is tillikum. this is an 11,000 pound, 22-foot long creature. we found that tillikum was involved in the death of a man who climbed into a tank at seaworld. tillikum and two orrs were involved in the drowning of a park employee in british columbia. the lead of the story here, we confirmed the identity of the trainer killed, 40-year-old dawn brancheau, said by the head of the orlando parks to be one of the most experienced trainered at word. >> peta issued a blistering statement attacking what they do at seaworld orlando. >> they did and didn't waste time doing it. this is the statement.
the death of the seaworld trainer following the attack by tilly the whale is a tragedy that didn't have to happen. for years, tella has been calling on seaworld to stop training animals in an area that size of a bathtub. and we ask them to perform silly tricking over and over again. it's not surprising when the huge animals lash out. and they go on to say it's time to let them flif peace in the world's oceans, switching to giant robotics would be a win-win situation. with that statement, literally moments after this incident occurred. >> thanks very much. we will have more on the story later on. and more important news. hundreds of weapons, signed off
from an arsenal in afghanistan by someone using the name of a cartoon character. these are revelations we are learning with lawmakers learn that u.s. military contractors are in their words out of control. the pentagon correspondent chris lawrence is learning more. >> reporter: there has been a challenge and problem with finding someone or some government official to step up and be accountable for what the private contractor does. private contractors come under fire on capitol hill. >> black water. >> reporter: remember that name? it doesn't exist. the company changed its name to z. and then it created a subsidiary to get defense contracts in
afghanistan. it had all the people and none of its history. >> who did you think you or working for? >> black water. >> what was it? just a name? >> i think that is -- that would be an accurate statement. >> reporter: parvant was not authorized to have weapons. >> you said i got side arms for everyone. 9 millimeter holsteres. we have not received permission to carry the weapons yet butly take my chances. pass the word. i will try to get out there in the morning. is that correct? >> yes. >> reporter: one employee took hundreds of ak-47s from a storage bunker. and neither the defense company or the state department with
find a shred of evidence. they took another 200 rifles signed out by eric cartman. ♪ o holy night >> was was that for? >> reporter: there is a "south park" character by that name but no eric cartman worked for the company. >> who was responsible for seeing the arrangements? >> i do not know the answer. >> who did you report to? >> reporter: a senate investigation found it impossible who was supposed to hold the contractors responsible. an indent where one contractor shot a trainer got written up. and congress said the army failed to investigate. >> until the contractors are held to the same standard as the men and women there in uniform, we are going to continue to be
back at this. >> time for solutions, right? the contractor z said it hired a new management team and has strict orders on the rules. they are working with the army. and a new proposal calls for one agency to oversee all the agencies. >> some of the problems can be foreseen when the u.s. military under orders has to subcontract so much work and they need private contractors to do a lot on it. >> you are talking about 70,000 contractors in after dwn stan alone. they are needy. they can't do the job without the contractors. >> a lot of outsources. a lot are not even americans, foreigners as well. >> most of them. >> thanks. attention all toyota owners and drivers. the chief says he will not let
another death happen and later he actually cries. we have the tape. and painful echoes of columbine. a gunman two miles from columbine high school. but a brave teacher stops it. and a hamas commanders, suddenly the number of suspects doubles and the conspiracy seems to stretch around the world, even here to the united states. , so why take a harsh laxative? phillips' caplets work naturally with your colon... for overnight relief without cramps. phillips' caplets.
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jack cafferty is here are the cafferty file. >> you don't have to look far sr. signs that our government is broken. here is one more. the house of representatives has passed 290 bills that are stalled in the senate. the hill newspaper reports that frustrated house democrats are out with a list of almost 300 pieces of legislation they have passed that the upper chamber has yet to act on. they include big ones and small ones from health care and climb change and wall street reform to a civil war battlefield act and naming a federal courthouse in iowa. nancy pelosi says the list is put together each congress and this year's is probably the largest ever. nonetheless, pelosi is not blaming the senate. instead, she lays the blame on the republicans who are abusing their right to filibuster.
excuse me, madame speaker, didn't they have a right to filibuster until the election in massachusetts? i degress. some are not doing more with the super majority when they had it. and the senators see themselves as a house of lords, his phrase, and they are out of touch with the american people since they are not up for re-election every two years. and harry reid blames the republicans for the legislation. aren't you in charge, harry? the democrats started with reid and pelosi has to figure out how to get the troops marching in the same direction. not easy with a bunch of democrats in the room. the business is piling up and the senate is sitting on its hands. here's the question. how can washington accomplish anything if 290 bills passed in the house are stalled in the
senate. go to cnn.com/cafferty file and post a comment. >> thank you. with all the recalls, worries and deaths and the public relations disaster this is the man so many people had been waiting for. the president of toyoda ta going before congress explaining it to lawmakers, and he was also talking to you. they are reviewing the issues and the brake pedals. and toyoda the man began with an acknowledgment. >> if the past few months, the customers started to feel uncertain about the safety of toyota vehicles and i take full responsibility for it. >> brianna keilar, high drama on capitol hill. >> reporter: a very intense hearing today. and after the hearing, the head
of toyota global, akio toyoda, he got emotional. take a listen. >> you and your colleagues across america and around the world, they are with me. [ applause ] they encourage -- words cannot express my gratitude. >> reporter: and part of his gratitude is for the fact that a lot of people he was addressing today actually have been outside the hearing rooms for the last two days, from plants, here from deeperships around the country and slay been here to support they company, wolf. >> a lot of complaints is that the problems don't deal with
floor mats, carpeting or sticky gas pedals but a bigger problems with the computers or electronics. >> reporter: this is the concern of engineering experts that the problem could go to the computers. he was asked act that today and mr. toyoda says he stands by the electronic throttle system. he says that toyota have been he'sing the vehicles, trying to create a situation like one of the computer problems that some suspect may be happening. and he said they can't do it. he says they think it's mechanical. >> it was fascinated they suggested that toyota executives and they didn't know how widespread the problems were. >> reporter: they were asked when did they know about the serious acceleration problems?
the runaway cars. it was fascinating listening in the hearing room, mr. toyoda and the head of toyota north america said they didn't know until late december, just a few weeks before the massive recall in january. and what's more, you heard government officials, federal regulators talk about a meet writing they sent people from the national highway safety traffic safety administration to japan and this is where they lit the fire under toyota in the meeting. they say they were not in the meeting and didn't know what was discussed. it was in mid-december and they weren't aware. >> brianna keilar, thanks. i just found out that acquit ya toyoda will be a guest on "larry king live." will you want to see larry's questions. there is a lot of stake tomorrow
in washington for mr. obama. can he make the health care summit more than just politics? ly talk to one of his advisers at the white house. and the president is pushing nuclear power as a course of clean energy. and one state is going in the opposite direction. we'll explain here in "the situation room." i'm robert shapiro.
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"situation room" right now. >> hey there, wolf. prepare to say good-bye to the hummer. general motors announced it will shut down the brand after a deal to sell it fell through. sales of the suv never recovered after gas prices sored in the summer of 2008. it's the third branch to die of pontiac. a colorado teacher said he always wondered what to do if a school shoot broke out. he tackled a gunmen as he was able to reload his rifle near columbine high school. two students were shot. one is still in the hopd. former vice president dick cheney is out of the hospital after suffering a mild heart attack. he was admitted to the hospital monday. he had a stress test and a heart
catheterization. and a long time aide to sarah palin announced she is resigning. meg stapleton served in that post since 2006. he says she needs to spend more time with her husband and young daughter. a source says had there are no plans to hire a replacement. >> thanks for that. broken government and stalled efforts in health care reform. is president obama gets the best advise? what is going on in his inner circle? we will talk about that with valley jarrett. and surprising twists in the assassination in a hamas leader. and a possible u.s. connection. ♪ [ male announcer ] you've wanted to quit smoking so many times, but those days came and went and the cigarettes remained.
on the eve of the obama administration's bihart san summit on health care reform, the battle lines are drawn between democrats and republicans. can the president some how, some how get them to find common ground tomorrow? joining us now from the white house, valley jarrett, a senior advisers to the president. thanks very much for coming in. let's look ahead to the big summit at blare house across the street from the white house. the house republican leader said you made a big mistake not
inviting governors to come in. why not governors also? >> first of all, good afternoon, wolf. the governors were in town over the weekend and the president had an hour, han and a half meeting with them. and health care was front and center on the topic. think we had an opportunity to hear from this. we have been working with them throughout the process. tomorrow is an opportunity to the have that conversation with congress. and after tomorrow, the governors will be -- continue to the be involved. >> how much flexibility is there in your position? the white house position on health care reform? you put out a detailed plan earlier in the week. how how much flexibility is there? >> the president said clearly he is open for all new, good, fresh ideas. he thought it was important in the stage of the process to put
up clearly what he thinks is a strong idea. and he welcomes all ideas. we are optimistic that people will come to the table with their best ideas to deliver health insurance reform to the american people. >> is the public option ted? >> i think the president said from the beginning that he thought it was important. clearly the votes aren't there this minute to support a public option but he thought it was important to provide -- and bring down costs. i think those principles are in place and we are interested in figuring out ways to make it affordable. bring down costs and covering people who don't have access to health care. this is important for american families and important to business. the president just spoke to the business round table this afternoon. had a great conversation with them, how aligned our interest rg with business and families and workers and government. and i think that hak is one example of how we want to work together with everybody to do
this once and for all. this is something that seven presidents tried to do. it's challenging. it's hard. and after all, isn't that we are hopeful for? >> it's not the president's plan he announced this week. because he didn't think he had the votes. >> that's exactly right. it's something he said from the beginning he thought would be a way of brings down costs and having competition. if people have other ways, we are welcome to those ideas. he made it clear we are encouraging everyone to come to the table, deal with substance and roll up our sleeves and get something done. >> if you can't debt that from republicans and lose a few democrats, is that reconciliation process, getting just 51 votes, working through that process, is that something that is still on the table if necessary? >> wolf, my view is this, i'm optimistic we will be able to get something done. i don't want to go to tomorrow -- and certainly the president is going in tomorrow with a hopeful view that we will
have a partnership with everyone coming to the table and working together. i think that will happen. i think what the american people want is an up and down vote on health care. we had a long and healthy depate about the issue over a long period of time and we are hopeful tomorrow we are nearing the end and the american people can have that vote and we are move on and deliver better health care. >> you're not ruling out the 51-vote option? >> think they want -- i you don't want to really talk about procedure and all that stuff. let's focus on tomorrow. let's take first things first and go to tomorrow with an attitude that we really can get something done and that new and good ideas will come to the table. we will have an honest debate about what the president puts on the table and let's cross the bridge what comes next after tomorrow. >> we did a poll this week, we have been working all week on the broken government series we
had and we asked the american public, is the government broken? look at this. 86% say yes, 14% say no. here's the question. the democrats are in charge of the white house. the house and the senate. how much responsibility do you have to the fact that so many americans feel that government is broken? >> let's take a step back. i think that what you see in that survey is an enormous amount of frustration and anxiety if this is fully justified. we came through the worst economic crisis certainly in my lifetime and you think about where we were a year ago, and now we really brought it down to just about breaking even, we are seeing positive growth. it's moving forward, 6% rate. but the fact of the matter is, the unemployment rate is 9.7%.
of course the american people are frustrated. we share that frustration. and that is why tomorrow is so important. you discussed how you are covering it live. that is critical. the american people deserve to see their government at work. they want to understand what are the issues? what are the differences and most importantly, what are the common things that are going to change the quality of their life? that is what tomorrow holds for them and if we can have that engagement, we are going to make progress for our country and people will start to feel that government is working for them again. >> at least tomorrow in the six or seven hours there will be transparency including cnn's cameras inside and we will have extensive coverage as you know. one final comment on a column in the "washington post" that is generating buzz. that president obama listened
too much to you and not enough time listening to the white house chief of staff. obama's problem is that his other confidants are part of the cult of obama, in love with a president. they believe he is a transformational figure who needn't dirty his hands in politics. i'm sure that caused a lot of buzz at the white house. i want you to respond. >> not so much buzz. look, we work as a very close team in the white house. i think the president is the at top. he encourages people to come in and speak freely about what their ideas are and that is something they begun in the campaign. we have a strong working team. there is nobody harder on us than we are on ourselves. we say, what can we do better today than yesterday? the president is the one that
who is the most critical of similar hfl. it's a game to say who is in and who's out. we have a very strong team that working clob ra tifly together. it's a team that is devoted to a transformational president. i think that is -- that is who the american people elected and that is not anything any of you are ashamed of. >> valley jarrett, we will watch it tomorrow with great interest. thanks very much and good luck. >> you're welcome and thanks for covering it tomorrow. >> we will have live coverage tomorrow beginning at 10:00 a.m. eastern here on cnn. i will anchor it with the best political team in television. cameras inside the blair house across the street from the white house. you will see it in "the situation room" and on cnn. one state moves to rid itself of nuclear power. why it account be a nuclear free
the guest. lisa sylvester is monitoring other stories. >> i had there. vermont senate is moving to close the state's only nuclear power plant after 2012. they voted against a 20-year extension. they say the plant is getting old and unreliable. and they say they need the merge from the plant and the jobs. the parents of a missing actor are pleading for him to contact them. andrew koenig disappeared in vancouver. you may remember him as a friend on "growing pains." his father said he stopped taking antidepressants ayear ago. kathleen sebelius is asking to meet with the heads of five health insurance companies next week as testimonies are rashing
up attacks on the industry ahead of the summit tomorrow. and it's a political score and it could come on a basketball court. a spokesman for president obama says an invitation to play the new republican senator from massachusetts is being studied. scott brown is in the seat heldly ted kennedy. they are organizing the event to benefit local charities. they can always do -- >> if he continues voting with the democrats in the senate, they will have that basketball game at some point. the president -- we only hope there will be tv cameras, right? >> absolutely. we will have you covering it. you are a big basketball fan. >> i want to see the wizards later tonight. thank you very much. a new twist that is out of a spy novel. the assassination of a hamas leader in a luxury hotel.
plus, outrage over cost overruns. the price of many taxpayer projects like the u.s. capital visitors center exploding far beyond the estimates. we're going on a field trip to china! wow. [ chuckles ] when i was a kid, we -- we would just go to the -- the farm. [ cow moos ] [ laughter ] no, seriously, where are you guys going? ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! [ female announcer ] the new classroom. see it. live it. share it. on the human network. cisco.
suddenly the number of suspects more than doubled in the killing of a hamas commander. authorities in dubai put the size of the hit team at 26 people. the conspiracy teams to stretch around the world with one trail even leading here to the united states. paula hancocks is at the scene of the killer in dubai. >> reporter: the hotel behind me is the hotel with the hamas
leader mahmoud al mabhouh was assassinated. it's a hotel with an extensive security camera system. it gave cnn a little more footage that implicates 15 more suspects. on this security camera at the airport, a man and woman arrive the day before a hamas leader is killed in his hotel room. they are traveling on irish passports. dubai police see the passports are frauds. they are 15 new suspects that police added to the list today into the investigation of the assassination of mahmoud al mabhouh. and another country, three on australian passports. one traveled to dubai almost a year ago for training purposes.
the other two in august. and police said they left on a ship to iran. each raising more questions than it answers. why would it take 26 people on one man without a bodyguard. one man tells cnn that hamas should have told the palestinian embassy he was coming and they could have provided security. >> translator: what happened would not have occurred if there was not a security breach. hamas refuses to acknowledge this. as if they are gods or something. this is wrong. >> reporter: the implications of the investigation are global. passports in europe and australia, police have released details of 30 credit cards. two palestinians still in custody and 26 suspects, dubai police are still operating under
the assumption there may be more. the police chief still believes that mossad is behind the hit. they broke ranks with the policy of no comment 250us, applauding the assassination of al mabhouh. security forces say the he was smuggling weapons from gaz is a. the suspect moving around around the hotel would have known they were picked up on the security camera as some had been hererier for planning purposes. wolf? >> paula hancocks in dubai working the story. more in the coming days. toyota's once-stellar reputation is taking a beating among the massive recall and that has consumers questioning and dealers worrying. allan chernoff has more.
>> reporter: it's stunning. the chief executive of toyota confessing they failed to keep safety their number one priority. rocking the foundation on one of the most trusted consumer brand names. now the trust that consumers had in toyota are shaken. when the chief executive says they lost sight of safety, it's a concern. he say they thought too much about expansion and not about safe cars. >> this priorities became confused. i intend to farther improve on the quality of the vehicles. >> reporter: but promises may not be enough for toyota owners who are shaken by reports of runaway cars when the u.s. sales chief says that recalls may not solve the problem. >> do you believe that the recall of the carpet changes and the recall on the sticky pedal
will solve the problem of sudden, unintended acceleration? >> not totally. >> reporter: matt drives one of the luxury vehicles, a lexus. >> what other car can i get? will i trust toyota? >> do you are? >> no, i don't trust them. >> would you buy a toyota for yourself now? >> not now. >> reporter: it's a crisis for the japanese auto maker. >> the company is badly damaged. the brand is being damaged also. >> toyota dealers say the vast majority of customers are loyal to the brand. >> 95% i would say have been positive. they have owned toyotas before and are not worried. >> but toyota dealers are worried and offers rebates and
finishing. sales last month slumped 16% as the auto market rebounded and now competing dealers are going all out to grab customers. toyota is ranked at the ninth most valuable brand at the world. if the company fails to solve the acceleration problem, the brand can lois about one-third of its value in the next year. sorry isn't going to be enough if the problem isn't fixed. it's performance not promises that will work for the american consumer. wolf? >> thanks very much. once again, i want to remind you, later tonight on "larry king live" a worldwide exclusive. akio toe owe da, the grandson of the founder of toyota joins larry to talk about his testimony before congress, his apology and what his company is trying to do to mend its reputation. a worldwide interview and he
will take your questions through facebook and twitter, 9:00 p.m. eastern. jack cafferty is up next with your e-mail and plus more on the tragedy at seaworld in orlando. what prompted a killer whale to kill its own trainer. jack hanna will be standing by. . a regular moment can become romantic. and when it does, men with erectile dysfunction can be more confident in their ability to be ready with cialis. with two clinically proven dosing options, you can choose the moment that's right for you and your partner. 36-hour cialis and cialis for daily use. cialis for daily use is a low-dose tablet you take every day, so you can be ready anytime the moment's right. >> tell your doctor about your medical condition and all medications and ask if you're healthy enough for sexual activity. >> don't take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. >> don't drink alcohol in excess with cialis. side effects may include headache, upset stomach, delayed backache, or muscle ache. to avoid long-term injury, seek immediate medical help
anything if 290 bills passed in the house are simply stalled over in the senate? john writes this is more proof nothing works in washington anymore. let's abolish the two-party system, go to a parliamentary democracy, and in place would be a chief executive accountable to the legislature and capable of being removed by a majority vote of that legislature. joe writes "say what you will about pelosi and bush 43 for that barth but both of them got things done. they were leaders. you can argue about whether the bills and laws are worthy, but they were able to corral people into getting things passed. it says a lot about ari reed's senate leadership." dan writes "a super majority, not just a majority. the democrats should be ashamed." kent innage knowledge "nothing will change until all the incumbents are replaced. the only problem the voters aren't ready to replace them. the voters talk but don't act just like politicians and the politics know it."
"a" in seattle writes, "washington will accomplish nothing without some break in the senate deadlock. i fear that is exactly what the republicans want. no action means no democratic victories, no obama victory, the republicans can then resort to their ways by charging the democrats with being incapable of governing much the solution harry reid has to find the political courage to invoke budget reconciliation whenever possible. if he's unable to hold 51 members together, maybe he's right. the democrats cannot govern." mike writes "you can bet your sweet done question if they contain pay raises they wouldn't be stalled." and john in minneapolis "what are you whining about, the less this collection of clowns touch, the better off we all are." if you want to read more find it at my blog at cnn.com/cafferty file. >> high or low expectations for that health care summit tomorrow at blair house?
>> oh, i don't know. i think it's mostly political theater and i don't think any meaningful health care legislation is probably going to get passed but just a guess. >> jack, we'll cover it starting at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning all day coverage on cnn. jack cafferty and the cafferty file. the military started developing this aircraft with a projected price tag of $4 billion. but guess what? wait until you hear how much the project ended up costing. ♪
all week in our series we've been focusing on what's wrong with washington. what can be done to fix it. to lisa sylvester looking at why so many government projects wind up costing so much more than we were originally told they would cost. >> wolf, as you know the country is facing a $1.3 trillion deficit for this year yet we still see government projects that are coming in way over budget. with 580,000 square feet, three level, marble floors, two theaters and the largest cafeteria in washington, the capitol hill visitors center offers guests a grand welcome. taxpayers shelled out $621 million. more than two times the original estimated cost. one example of a cost overrun. when the price tag for a project approved by congress balloons out of control. >> it's always the natural tendency of bureaucracies and
the politicians who benefit from them to sell us something at one price and then jack that price up later in hopes that we won't notice. >> reporter: according to the government accountability office, the military's v- 2 osprey aircraft's development cost increased over 200% increasing from $4.2 billion to $12.7 billion between 1986 and 2007. the stimulus project originally passed congress with a $787 billion price tag. but later the congressional budget office revised that number upward to $862 billion due to higher costs for unemployment compensation. the yucca mountain site to bury nuclear waste has been plagued by delays and cost overruns leading the obama administration to put the brakes on the program. the gao's projected cost, $67 billion. why are we seeing all of these cost overruns? >> i think what you're really seeing with cost overruns like
these programs is that the initial expectations for how the program is going to perform are way too optimistic and really aren't realistic. >> reporter: cost overruns do happen in the private sector and aren't reported as frequently as with the government. but the kato institute, a libertarian group that favors smaller government, says there's not enough oversight of federal spending. >> congressional oversight is not a very sexy thing to do. members would rather spend on new projects and when you think about a member of congress with, say, a defense weapons contractor in their district, they're not very concerned about cost overruns. >> reporter: but when the projects exceed their expected cost, it's not congress' money at stake, it's the taxpayers. now, cost overruns tend to occur in large spending projects and we see it across agencies from energy to nasa to the pentagon. last year lawmakers did pass and it was signed into law a measure that adds more oversight to the defense department's procurement
process. it calls for tracking costs growth before a final decision is made to proceed with the project. wolf? >> aren't these projects supposed to have these cost procurement specialists who are supposed to keep an eye on the cost? >> reporter: yes, they do but a common problem we hear, they have small staffs and small budgets and don't have the resources to oversee billions of dollars' worth in spending contracts. >> a pity. thanks very much, lisa. see you back here tomorrow. let's wrap it up with some hot shots coming from our friends at the associated press, pictures likely to be in your newspapers tomorrow. near athens, greece. a man fishes in front of an idle ferry during a strike that's crippled daily life. people walk through a market for the prophet's upcoming birthday. this friday in albany, new york, a man clears snow in front of his business. in london check it out an 8-year-old black